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“I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you” (Phil 1:3-4).

Happy Thanksgiving!  The monks of Conception Abbey have many reasons to give thanks.  It is important for us first to recognize the little blessings of each day, like a beautiful and sunny day or the taste of a well-prepared meal.  We also have our long term gifts to appreciate—creativity, a sense of humor, and life itself is the greatest gift.  The monks are grateful for all of you for your friendship and support, and we remember you in prayer today in a special way during Eucharist (which, of course, means “thanksgiving”).

Yesterday evening was a joyful and fraternal time for the monastic community.  After Compline, we gathered in the refectory to honor our jubilarians and enjoy one another’s company.  The young monks of the community provided the entertainment for the evening, which seeks to honor the jubilarians.

For the first part of the jubilarian entertainment, we called the jubilarians forward two at a time in order to compete against one another in a game we called, “Guess the Picture (Monk edition).”  We created a PowerPoint to project pictures on a screen of different objects that the monks might encounter on a daily basis.  These pictures were zoomed in very close, so at such a perspective, it was hard to distinguish what exactly it was.

The jubilarians were seated side by side in front of the community, with a small table and bell placed between the two chairs.  When the picture appeared on the slide before them, the first person to ring the bell and identify the picture correctly received 1 point.  The monks would see a total of 7 pictures before another pair of contestants were brought forward to compete.

Some sample pictures are posted below.  Find the answer to each below.

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IMG_0495 IMG_0511 IMG_0549-1 IMG_0468

When calling forth the jubilarians to compete, we displayed slides with their photos edited in various ways.  Everyone was impressed with the editing and creativity, but I have to be an honest monk and I cannot take credit for it entirely.  The humorous pictures were created with the assistance of Photofunia, a website I stumbled upon.
PhotoFunia-2ae68bc_o PhotoFunia-294f52e_o PhotoFunia-294ff2d

The second part of the entertainment involved a quiz about the jubilarian’s interests and responses to various questions. We tried not to ask the typical biographical questions, but rather find some more creative questions that would elicit fun responses.  Here are a few sample questions:

If you could meet any one person from history, who would it be?
What is your favorite way to travel?
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

And you thought monks didn’t know how to have fun…

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After breakfast, the monks prepared the monastic refectory for the noon meal.  The food was delicious, with all of the traditional fixings.  For most, I predict a quiet and relaxing afternoon, and maybe a stroll out in the sunshine.  God be praised!

Answers to the photos above:

740_IMG_0440 740_IMG_0494
740_IMG_0511

740_IMG_0548

740_IMG_0468

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